News of the Weird: Nigeria Demands Apology from Sony for Defamation?
All right, folks. Raise your hands if you haven’t received a scam email from someone purporting to be either Nigerian or a Nigerian governmental-type person. (Don’t worry, I won’t ask whether you fell for it.) The practice has gone on for so long, I sort of figured Nigeria didn’t care. (Then again, what were they going to do, issue a press release? An FAQ on Nigeria.com? That helps.)
Turns out, they do—or at least, they might. The story is so strange that even Michael Masnick of TechDirt, who covers all kinds of bizarre legalities, isn’t sure whether to believe it.
The Vanguard, apparently a Nigerian news site, reports on the official government statement by Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili:
Nigeria remains a major investment destination and a country where most businesses thrive in trust, good faith, competence and integrity. . . .
Nigeria also demands an unconditional apology from Sony Corporation for this deliberate negative campaign against the country’s image and reputation.
The apology must be given the same measure of publicity by Sony Corporation in all channels where the unfortunate adverts were aired.
In the light of the above, the Federal Government of Nigeria requests Sony Corporation to immediately withdraw that advertisement from circulation.
Here’s the offending ad:
Uhhh HUH. So after all that Nigerians and individuals posing as Nigerians have done to defame the country’s reputation and integrity, Nigeria is demanding an apology for a commercial that says, “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Otherwise I’d be a Nigerian millionaire by now.” (Should descendants of WWI vets be offended? Because another commercial in the campaign has the punchline, “That’s how WWI got started.”)
Masnick says that it’s so bizarre it almost seems like Sony’s coordinating this as part of their campaign. What do you think? Is this for real, or a publicity stunt—and if so, is it a stunt for Nigeria or Sony?